ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Hunter Dickinson gave Luka Garza fits around the basket, and Franz Wagner scored 21 points to lead No. 3 Michigan to a 79-57 victory over No. 9 Iowa on Thursday night.
The Wolverines (17-1, 12-1) passed yet another test against a highly ranked opponent, and they look increasingly alone atop the Big Ten, where every other team has at least four conference losses. Dickinson more than held his own against Garza in a much-anticipated matchup of two standout big men who have known each other for years.
Garza led the Hawkeyes (17-7, 11-6) with 16 points, but he shot 6 of 19 from the field. The 7-foot-1 Dickinson, who like Garza went to high school in the Washington area, showed early on he could defend the Iowa star without help inside. That helped Michigan become the first team to hold the Hawkeyes under 65 points all season.
The Wolverines led 32-29 at halftime, then took control after what could have been a turning point in Iowa’s favor. Garza’s three-point play put the Hawkeyes up 37-36 — and drew Dickinson’s third foul — but Michigan answered that with a 14-2 run that took place mostly while its starting center was on the bench.
Isaiah Livers scored 16 points for the Wolverines. Dickinson added 14.
Michigan was coming off a 92-87 win over No. 4 Ohio State last weekend. This game was more tedious at the start, but the Wolverines never seemed to grow frustrated.
Iowa: There were some positives for the Hawkeyes in the first half. Their defense — thought to be a weakness — kept Michigan mostly under control in the first 20 minutes. Iowa has some health concerns, though. Jack Nunge was injured in the first half and walked off with some assistance. In the second half, Connor McCaffery went down with what appeared to be a left foot injury.
Michigan: Dickinson, a freshman, acquitted himself well against Garza. The Wolverines turned what looked like a matchup of heavyweights into a rout — and that’s also what they’ve done in the Big Ten standings so far.
At this point, Michigan might be able to lose a game without dropping. The No. 4, 5, 6 and 7 teams all have at least five losses. Iowa may drop out of the top 10 — but the Hawkeyes do have another chance this week to earn a marquee win.
Iowa: The Hawkeyes face another top-five opponent when they play at Ohio State on Sunday.
Michigan: The Wolverines have only one day off before playing at Indiana on Saturday.
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